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Gran Cantina Concept is 'Something Completely Different'

Iron Bar owners set to seek approval for place-to-place liquor license transfer to future 9 South St. business in October.

Gran Cantina is not an expansion of .

That is the first thing James Cavanaugh wants to get cleared up about his plans for 9 South St., which until recently housed the cafe.

The second thing the longtime Morristown business owner wants known about his Mexican concept is it's going to be something the town has never experienced before.

But, it has to be approved by the town first.

While Cavanaugh, business partner Darrell Remlinger and their attorney Robert Williams , Cavanaugh is optimistic the place-to-place liquor license transfer has legal footing to be approved. Right now, the license for his Iron Bar already occupies part of 9 South St.—its basement.

If approved, Cavanaugh—who owned and operated for 30 years what is best known as Jimmy's Haunt on the spot currently occupied by on South Street—said Gran Cantina should hopefully be open by spring.

The Chester resident said Morristown lacks an authentic Mexican restaurant where diners can get a cocktail to go with their meal. "We thought it would be a good idea," he said.

Since , Cavanaugh, who owns the building, said he has received a number of offers from prospective tenants. They have primarily been pizzeria concepts, which he said, "Morristown has more than enough of those."

So, he and Remlinger—who first joined Jimmy's Haunt as a manager in 1996 and now is co-owner and manager of Iron Bar—decided it would be best to take on the potential project themselves.

On a sample menu, Gran Cantina is expected to offer traditional Mexican and TexMex standbys like fajitas, burritos and tacos, as well as American fare like burgers and wings. An expanded kitchen would be built in the 2,800-square-foot structure, allowing about 1,500 square feet of dining space.

Cavanaugh said, though his Iron Bar has only been open a few months, it already has proven itself an upstanding member of the business community. "I think we are a step above whatever else has been talked about," he said in regard to complaints about downtown businesses—primarily bars. "A lot of money has been invested in this."

"We have been cooperative, open-minded and we react when issues up," Remlinger added.

Regarding the proposed Gran Cantina concept, the manager said, "it is definitely different than anything else in town.

"It's not another bar, it's not another establishment," he said. "The whole concept is something completely different."

With at least another two months to go before the proposed is scheduled to go before the town, Cavanaugh said, "don't paint us with the same brush.

"We have confidence in our group in making this a success."

Courtney August 22, 2012 at 03:33 AM
Matt, you must not know what is going on in Morristown. The residents are having more than enough trouble with the current bar crowds. This Fall, Iron Bar is opening a basement that holds over 600 people. That in itself is more than any other bar in Morristown and doesn't even include the current Iron Bar or this new place. James Cavanaugh will legally be able to cater to over 1100 people iunder the same liquor license.... You can't pull something like this off in Morristown without knowing someone. I don't care about the bars, I'm more interested in the politics. This is going to start a fire storm.
Matt S August 22, 2012 at 03:46 AM
I still think everyone is taking the 'bar' concept too far. It sounds like a restaurant that serves alcohol. Idk I come to morristown all the time and if the residents can't stand Morristown becoming popular, then they shouldnt live there
michelle alexander August 22, 2012 at 10:27 AM
There is a great authentic mexican restaurant across from the train station called la estacion. Byob and they will make you a great sangria. That's better than paying big bucks at a restaurant with a liquor license.
Courtney August 22, 2012 at 10:44 AM
Do you really think Cavanaugh, who opened Jimmy's Haunt and the Iron Bar, is suddenly going to open a "Restaurant"? He is claiming it will be a restaurant to get through the approval process. Dougherty will make sure nobody bothers his friend James too much but this is definitely going to be a club.
40ParkRes August 22, 2012 at 12:09 PM
Cavanaugh is going to wait to see what Futbalandia turns out to be before he decides what to do with this place. The guy doesn't have a mind of his own. Iron Bar is a weak, uncomfortable version of Sona. James, just copy the Walshes exactly next time. Don't try to put your own spin on their places. You aren't smart enough.
Faith Teeple August 22, 2012 at 12:34 PM
Article says "Gran Cantina Concept is 'Something Completely Different'....it is definitely different than anything else in town....will offer traditional Mexican and TexMex standbys like fajitas, burritos and tacos, as well as American fare like burgers and wings"....So, what's different??...seems to me, it's a place offering foods already available around town but it has a BAR....
millions August 22, 2012 at 12:58 PM
Followers, Followers, Followers! When are you guys going to copy Tashmoo?
kyle August 22, 2012 at 01:36 PM
I think a better name would be "Chili's". Has a nice ring to it. All kidding aside...why not put something there that will draw people to Morristown? You can find decent "mexican" food basically anywhere.
Motown Resident August 22, 2012 at 01:44 PM
I thought the "bowling alley" was something completely different? It will be interesting to see if a liquor license isn't just a liquor license with "Jimmy" in his new idea vs. Mr. Walsh's bowling alley idea. You can't say "no" to one person and then "yes" to another, can you? The council will look pretty foolish (aka corrupt) if they go down this road.
PeterB August 22, 2012 at 01:51 PM
I hear Snookie is doing the ribbon cutting when it opens! Can't Wait!
Ryan August 22, 2012 at 02:02 PM
Let me first say that I think this new concept is stupid. There are plenty of places serving this type of food in Morristown. Sounds like the owner rejected pizza places trying to move into that spot for just that reason... With that being said, this place sound much more like Urban Table than it does Iron Bar, Dark Horse, Sona, etc. Surely a place like the one described above will not be a late night hot spot. As to your comment that "[t]he residents are having more than enough trouble with the current bar crowds," really??? As someone who lives, works and spends a majority of his time in Morristown, this just is not the case at all. The only "trouble" I have seen is people coming to grips with the town having a late night scene and spending tons of time complaining about exaggerated issues.
AK August 22, 2012 at 03:37 PM
Courtney, what exactly has changed? Either you are a newer resident or you have been naive to the crowds that have been coming to Morristown for longer than I can remember. An active nightlife is just a function - a profitable function - of a "hip" community. It's part of what makes the downtown attractive and what chips in on our taxes. If you were unfamiliar before moving here, a little research would have gone a long way. Accusing Matt of not knowing what is going on in Morristown raises a question on how familiar you are with the town.
Marianne Tobler August 22, 2012 at 04:48 PM
Morristown has always been popular with the people who live and own property here. There was a comprehensive survey sent to residents a couple years ago and conducted by the morristown partnership and what I heard from friends and neighbors is that there is a need for affordable clothing and shoe stores besides century, bookstore cafes would be nice and other retail such as outdoor/ sporting goods stores...just like Madison. I wonder what the actual results of the survey were? Btw there is a great Mexican restaurant across from the train station. Check it out.
Marianne Tobler August 22, 2012 at 04:50 PM
How about establishments which keep the people who are already here!
AJ August 22, 2012 at 05:42 PM
LET THE GUYS SPEND HIS MONEY HOW HE WANTS AND LET THE MARKET DECIDE..IF ITS A GOOD CONCEPT PEOPLE WILL SPEND THEIR MONEY THERE IF NOT IT CLOSES LIKE ZEBU.. SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST..FREE MARKET
JDomingez August 22, 2012 at 06:34 PM
It is not a free open market if Cavanaugh is the only one allowed to do it. Nobody else can have 1200 capacity with one liquor license. Dougherty is a good friend
kyle August 22, 2012 at 06:48 PM
Didn't think i needed to state the obvious...of course we'd want something for locals/residents. My point was that something that draws people from the surrounding areas benefits ALL local businesses. Or maybe we should build a wall around town and not let anyone (and their out pf town $$$) come in. "Locals Only" signs possibly?
Matt S August 22, 2012 at 07:42 PM
This is good for morristown...stop making the comparisons to the bowling alley. the bowling alley was TOTALLY different. They planned to take down a building a build a bowling alley/bars...This is a very different concept that should get approved, no matter if the mayor is friends or not
lucas August 22, 2012 at 08:13 PM
Matt, You obviously work there or you wouldn't have commented 5 times already.... I'm glad you admit that Jimmy is friends with the mayor. If you didn't work there you would realize it is VERY CLEAR that the Iron Bar get preferred treatment in town. If Jimmy wanted to he would have no trouble putting in a bowling alley. He already tore down one of the most historical buildings in Morristown and put in a TD bank. I'm sure that is how he pays the rent at Iron Bar being that you guys are always empty!
Motown Resident August 22, 2012 at 08:32 PM
AJ..........I agree, let them invest and let the market decide but the town doesn't work that way. On paper both ideas (bowling alley and Jimmy's new bar) are in an approved business zone for the uses proposed. Let's see how the chips fall with our fair minded council and the rationale for the exception to this bar, (when they approve it) as to why the new space won't increase traffic on Dehart St. with the public parking garage.
AJ August 22, 2012 at 08:36 PM
he owns the building and owns the liquor liscense.. he should be able to put what he wants in the building (within reason) as long as the board approves and its always better to have a occupied store front instead of a empty one. roots has the same set up with two seperate concepts under one liquor liscense which my understanding skirted the actual rules with respect to liscense because they are on the ground floor of the buildiing 40parc and have some sort of catering loophole (good for them). if you guys object put your money where your mouth is...
AJ August 22, 2012 at 08:37 PM
a bowling alley with 3 lanes and a rooftop bar is not there to be a bowling alley
Abe the donk August 22, 2012 at 08:44 PM
Cavanaugh is a great person and always does everything by the book. What has he ever done to hurt our town
Matt S August 22, 2012 at 09:22 PM
I am commenting because I believe in the project. I do not work there, and as a matter of fact, have never even been to Iron Bar. But I think these types of projects are great for Morristown as a whole, because then people like me (from Mendham) can come to Morristown and spend money, which then helps the entire town....Stop bullying on Jimmy, he is doing good things for Morristown
lucas August 22, 2012 at 09:53 PM
That is 6 times Matt (Iron Bar Employee) Weird that you care so much about Morristown when you live in Mendham? Here is your post under Iron Bar Expanding. I'm sorry your place of Business is empty all the time. Matt S 9:26 pm on Wednesday, August 15, 2012 I think it is a great idea to expand. Iron Bar is a delight!
Matt S August 22, 2012 at 11:26 PM
you are starting to annoy me. People I know have been there, and genuinely liked it. I do NOT work there, I have never been there, and don't plan on going there for awhile. I care about development everywhere! Real estate is my thing, so stop being so negative.
lucas August 23, 2012 at 01:54 AM
Matt I'm not even going to bother with you anymore. You are clearly lying. I know it must be boring working there but don't make up stories.
David August 23, 2012 at 03:03 AM
Morristown needs a lot of things. It does not need bars and clubs or anymore banks and brokerage houses. As for Mexican, it's Casa Maya or bust.
NowServingFood! August 23, 2012 at 04:33 PM
Matt S you are an idiot. Is your real name Darrell?
Motown Resident September 08, 2012 at 01:10 PM
When is this scheduled to be open? I see work being done but haven't heard anything.

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